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BUYING FOR ONE

Single buyers for ‘single-family’ homes

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POSTED August 29, 2014 7:37 p.m.



Here’s a trend that might catch you off-guard: Upwards of one in six new homebuyers in Manteca are single.

Based on current construction trends that means that in a year’s time some 50 out of 310 new homes built in Manteca will be owner-occupied by singles.

The number may not sound high but in a town that rode the housing bubble with more McMansions designed for families proliferating fast enough to prompt McDonald’s to build five outlets in Manteca and every other fast food outlet conceivable to come in behind them, it is a stunning trend.

 A word of caution: This is a snapshot of four new home builders in Manteca and just includes pending or just completed sales. Even so, it makes you think twice about whether Manteca’s demographics could be shifting slightly. If that happens the “Family City” may become more appealing to restaurants and even stores that cater to singles that tend to have more disposable income.

The highest percentage of single buyers in Manteca appears to be with Raymus Homes.They have yet to even open models for Oleander Estates in south Manteca.

The Raymus’ family reputation of 60 years plus of building top-notch homes in Manteca may explain why the four homes they have contracts on are with local buyers. And two of those are single professionals.

Other builders also report single buyers but they are a mix of current Central Valley and Bay Area addresses. It may also helps that the Raymus Homes that have caught early attention are the more affordable models that sell in the low $300,000s. With today’s interest rates, a $300,000 loan translates into a principle and interest payment of $1,350 a month. That’s less than what a typical smaller home rents for. Once you add property taxes and insurance the home is still within reach of locally employed professionals. That wasn’t the case back in the nose bleed days of 2005 when virtually no one already working and living in Manteca could afford to buy new homes that were pushing the $480,000 mark with interest rates significantly higher.

There were single buyers back then. But the ones that were tended to be highly paid Bay Area singles — including several engineers — that bought 4,400-square-foot McMansions near Cowell School, put in barebones furniture for living and stayed put for two years. They then flipped the home to pocket as much as $100,000 in equity that wasn’t subject to taxes thanks to meeting the minimum owner residency requirement.

The odds are single buyers are more prevalent among existing homes.

A Century 21 survey of single buyers conducted this summer showed 75 percent of single homeowners between ages 25 and 50 viewed becoming a homeowner as fairly important with 45 percent saying it was very important. The top three reasons for buying they gave: It is an investment in their financial future, they got tired of paying rent, and it felt like the right time.

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